The beauty of collaborations is that they can bring together opposites that wouldn’t normally mingle. Metallica and Lou Reed, Elton John and Eminem, salt and vinegar. The latest surprising musical alliance comes from Spanish instrumental post-rockers Toundra and flamenco vocalist Niño de Elche, who have merged under the moniker Exquirla.
They first met at a festival, before performing live together, and their debut album Para Quienes Aún Viven – ‘for those still alive’ – vindicates their decision to team up. Toundra provide the meaty backing, with de Elche layering on dollops of throaty, native singing, and it all just seems to work. The band seem to have reined in their more metallic chops, but Destruidnos Juntos still manages to swell over its nine minutes to a typically rollicking crescendo, while Un Hombre concludes with a window-shattering scream. But there are enough mellow moments in this curious collaboration to tickle de Elche’s fans; the haunting vocals deftly painted over El Grito del Padre and Contigo grip at the emotions, even if you don’t have a clue what the lyrics are about. Language has no barriers.